Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Skip Trudeau

Second Advisor

Todd Ream

Third Advisor

Kim Case

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between athletic involvement and spiritual development. Historically, athletics has been examined as an outlet of spirituality, but previous studies have not examined spirituality as a product of athletic involvement. The following question guided this study: “To what extent, if any, does college athletic involvement impact spiritual development?” This study took a longitudinal quantitative approach, leveraging archival survey data to conduct a means comparison study of the responses to particular survey items for athletic and non-athletic students. Though no statistical significance existed between the results of the two populations, the study still offers key implications for future research and practice. Implications for practice for the examined institution include making cautious assumptions about student athletes, understanding that athletics does not negatively impact spiritual development, and affirming that athletic recruitment abides by institutional standards and does not recruit exceptional students to general admissions standards. Implications for future research include conducting additional archival studies on student athletes to better understand their experience at the institution, grouping future research on athletics by institutional type, and further examining the role of the coach in shaping the student athlete experience.

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